By Cindy Phillips updated Fri, Mar 21, 2014 11:59 AM
We Boomers were a generation of revolutions – sexual, political and for this Boomer, the most prolific was the musical revolution. I spent many an hour watching the revolutions of my 45 RPM singles and 33 1/3 RPM albums on a turntable – reading the lyrics off the album cover or with my head propped up against the speakers.
The last members of the Boomer generation were born in 1964, the same year The Beatles made their first appearance in America. Last month we celebrated 50 years since the night we sat in front of our television sets awaiting the start of “The Ed Sullivan Show.”
We were mesmerized, our eyes glued to the screen as we watched John, Paul, George and Ringo shake their shaggy heads and croon the words to “All My Lovin'” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”
I was 10-years-old. With a sister and cousin five years older than me, I was making my foray into the world of music by tagging along. The night of that infamous Ed Sullivan appearance, I became hooked on the Beatles along with the rest of my generation. That hook went deep and has never been removed. Basically, the Beatles have been with me through every phase of my life.
Those first albums were released in my tweens and to this day, I know every word by heart. We would sing them everywhere – on the school bus, at recess, after school as we gathered at one another’s homes. We carefully placed the albums on the spindle of our record player and sang in harmony as we hugged pillows and talked about which Beatle we would marry if we had our choice. I must admit I changed my mind every week. I simply loved all four of them.
“Meet the Beatles,” “The Second Album,” “Beatles 65” – every song on every album was special and it was almost impossible to pick a favorite. And then came the movie and soundtrack – “A Hard Day’s Night.” I can remember sitting in the movie theatre as if it was yesterday (no pun intended). We were in one of the first few rows, which made the fab four appear larger than life. It was near impossible to hear anything of the movie over the screaming. I believe the entire audience was comprised of teenaged girls. There was a lot of sobbing and near hysteria.
By the time “Rubber Soul” was released, both our personalities had changed – mine and the band’s. We were deeper thinkers who had developed a more somber mood. To this day, “Norwegian Wood” makes me take pause and reflect. No matter what I am doing, if that songs plays I stop and let myself be transported in front of that fireplace, sitting on the rug. It grounds me.
“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” and “Magical Mystery Tour” were a tad bit ahead of my time. I was still sporting my plaid uniform as I completed my last year of Catholic grammar school. I hadn’t fully grasped the concept of psychedelics, though it appeared the Beatles were experimenting heavily.
When “The White Album,” was released, we were back on the same plane. I was now a worldly high schooler with the ability to analyze the lyrics with the best of them. “Bungalow Bill,” “Rocky Racoon,” “Sexy Sadie” and “Julia” – I came to know them all. And all of us had something to hide except for me and my monkey – wait, what?
“Abbey Road” and “Let It Be,” the last two studio albums, were also released while I was still in high school. But my relationship with this group was far, far from over. Every one of those albums went with me to college in upstate New York, my first time away from home. By then my musical tastes were wide open. I could listen to Todd Rundgren, Three Dog Night and The Mahavishnu Orchestra all in the same day. But The Beatles remained my touchstone.
The boys had each gone out on their own and I made my connections with them individually as well. I remember going home for a weekend and coming back with my newly purchased Ringo album. “You’re Sixteen” was the hit and the entire album had a carnival or circus feel to it, at least for this girl (or is it “That Boy”).
Paul, and wife Linda, formed the band Wings. I didn’t gravitate to them at the time, but today Paul’s “All the Best” album spends days at a time in the CD player of my car. “Silly Love Songs,” “No More Lonely Nights,” “Coming Up” – Paul often serenades me on my way to work.
John and George didn’t stick with me in the long run, but I can still find peace in “Give Me Love” or “My Sweet Lord” when either crosses my musical path. And Christmas is not complete without hearing John Lennon’s “Happy Christmas.” Likewise, “Imagine,” “Beautiful Boy,” “Jealous Guy” and “Starting Over” always tug at my heart.
I’m a Boomer, my days of revolutions are limited to long-ago memories. But I would still like to play my albums at 33 1/3 revolutions per minute.
Cindy Phillips is a columnists for The Mountain Times. She can be reached directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.